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Email Tourism

I have a serious case of wanderlust. In the past five years, I’ve lived in three countries, five cities, and eight apartments. For me, change isn’t scary, but invigorating. It’s a chance to start over and encounter something new, to reinvent yourself in a different culture, meet interesting people, try strange food, and have experiences beyond what you could have imagined for yourself.

After graduating from college, I stuffed two suitcases well past their 50 lb. weight limit and moved to Prague, Czech Republic. While there, I made a promise to myself to never have the same experience twice – everything I did, I had to approach from a new perspective. Whether it be traveling to unpronounceable cities or smaller changes like taking an alternative route home, I was actively reinventing my adventures.

I’ve brought that same, don’t-get-trapped-into-a-complacent-routine attitude into my marketing career.

When designing email campaigns, test and experiment different variables. Always. Of course, take a moment to pat yourself on the back and let the compliments come rolling in after a particularly successful campaign, but don’t use success as an excuse for complacency.

Even if you’ve found a system that works for you, segmented recipients by interest, and perfected your body content, design, messaging, tone, etc. your emails should be ever evolving. That mind-blowing, ahead of its time campaign will become stale and irrelevant in a matter of months.

As marketers, we must learn to roll with the punches and not fall in love with any one email campaign. Consider yourself an email tourist – you want to explore as many designs, layouts and messages as possible, then you can revisit the ones that worked and skip the ones that bombed.

Grab a fanny pack and guide book and explore different:

  • Subject lines: Experiment with different phrasings and lengths. Keep an air of mystery with your statement or question, forcing recipients to open the email to learn more.

  • Time sent: I could stand here on my soap box and tell you about the best practices you already know. Believe me, read back, I’ve preached that sermon before. Mix it up! There are times beyond 11am-2pm, Tuesday-Thursday.

  • “From” name: Emailing on behalf of a new person, such as a salesperson or newly hired executive, is a great way to introduce new roles and peak interest in recipients.

  • New information: Try adding a sidebar to your emails presenting this-is-why-we’re-awesome info such as customer testimonials, About Us facts, commonly asked questions, etc.

  • New images: Always create new images, your design team might (definitely will) hate you, but we don’t want email recipients to receive the same image twice. Images often jog memories more than messaging, so recipients will know they’re viewing recycled content.

  • A/B testing: You can always A/B test to pit opposing ideas against each other, especially subject lines or design features like font, layout, or tone.

Don’t be afraid to throw away the marketing rule book and start over. Some of the most life affirming decisions I’ve made were also the scariest, but all lead me to where I am today. A thoughtful, well constructed email may be the content needed to persuade that hot lead or provide an “aha moment” to a current customer.